This year is a little different. I’m not trying to be unsociable, but I’m looking at things differently now.
You see, my father passed away at the end of January and he was retired from the US Army. He also served in two tours in Vietnam. He died from an Agent Orange related illness caused in Vietnam.
I guess I never really understood when I was younger why we “really” celebrate Memorial Day. The real definition is this…..
Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
Memorial Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.*
Gatherings and BBQ’s are nice, don’t get me wrong, but we decided to not do anything this year. We went to the Florida National Cemetery where my father was buried. I’m still in awe at how many graves are just at our state cemetery. As I walked past row by row, I just thought to myself, how many families are hurting on a daily basis because of a loved one that didn’t come back from war or died later as a result of that war.
Each of these gravestone markers has a story and history. They were all unique, brave and courageous and fought the good fight!
This Memorial Day, I salute you soldiers, both men and women, who died in any of the wars and who died later as a related illness from that war just like my dad did. This is why we celebrate Memorial Day!
I miss him so much! I am so glad he’s rejoicing with our Father in Heaven and no longer suffering. He is healed. This is my dad on the left and his brother on the right. How cool would it be to be in Vietnam with your sibling?
I hope you enjoyed your holiday no matter how you celebrated it. J